2023-24 Round 16

The Shrine Cup - Shrine Desert Road Course - Wauwatosa, WI

April 4, 2024

Round 16 of 17

2024 Shrine Cup

Wiedemann Clinches Title, Kamikawa Wins Again

(Wauwatosa, WI) -- While Ev Kamikawa was doing something he hasn't done in five seasons, John Wiedemann did something the IndySlotCar Series hasn't seen in ten years. The Shrine Cup at the Shrine Desert Road Course featured the series' largest field in fourteen years, when 16 drivers attempted to make the field, matching the series record. All of this while local media was on hand to cover the festivities.

The night opened with a qualifying surprise as Brad Core scored his first Firestone P1 Award of the season and his first since the Deckertring a little over a year ago. The prospective champion John Wiedemann lined up on the front row, just .019 of a second a lap slower. Core's CBD Racing teammate Bill Black, the two-time defending Shrine Cup winner, third, while Team PenskeHO's John Shea also on the second row, with FAST's Steve Rist fifth. Because of the 16 car field, one driver would not even qualify for the Last Chance Qualifier, unfortunately for James Spehert, the Rookie of the Year winner, would finish the night 16th.

With the large field, it means only one spot into the three main heats is available to the LCQ, that means only the winner, and after so many LCQs this season, Matt Hayek made it work, winning the position. leaving Dan Margetta, Mike Fitzlaff and Amy Butler to finish 13th, 14th and 15th respectively.

The opening heat saw Ev Kamikawa, Joe Heitz, Dean Strom and Chris Spehert line up, and Heitz moved out to an early lead with both Strom and Kamikawa battling for second. However, near the middle of the heat a rock had rolled on to the track and the Michael Shank-It #06 Honda-Daboiler of Heitz found it, crashing off the track and causing damage that slowed the car for the rest of the race. While Heitz fell back, Strom and Kamikawa traded the lead, but the tires started to go off on Strom's FAST #28 Honda-Daboiler allowing Kamikawa to qualify for the final.  Strom finished the night fifth, with Heitz seventh and Chris Spehert would wind up eighth.

The middle heat saw the four fastest qualifiers square off, but tragedy struck early on when Brad Core came out of the keyhole corner, lost control and crashed out just forty laps into the race, settling for 12th on the night. The three remaining drivers battled closely, with Wiedemann, Black and Shea passing back and forth. Just past halfway John Shea would also lose the handle coming out of the keyhole and find himself out and tenth for the event. With just two cars still on track the action didn't end, Black still eyeing the Cup back on his mantle would hold off Wiedemann for the heat win, but the transfer spot was his and with that, the second Husarsbilt Cup championship of Wiedemann's career was clinched.

Meanwhile, in the final heat, hometown hero Mike Kristof, two FAST teammates, Hayek and Steve Rist and CBD's Pete Dorn lined up. Kristof took an early lead but was quickly overtaken by Hayek who built a lead over the field. But, like previous drivers, on the 45th lap, Hayek carried too much speed out of the keyhole, lost control and found himself out of the race, eleventh for the event. Rist found himself in the lead, with Dorn and Kristof now fighting for second. Dorn struggled with the twisty-bits and eventually fell back, ninth for the night, while Kristof made up ground in the late going, but the hole he was in was too deep to dig out of, Rist moved on to the final.

The final looked to be a chance for John Wiedemann to put a exclamation point on the night he clinched the championship, the fastest qualifier of the finalists he opened the race at the front with Bill Black in close pursuit, Kamikawa and Rist biding their time. At the halfway mark, Wiedemann made his pit stop, but would not leave again as the FAST pit workers noticed smoke from under the cowling and upon opening the engine compartment it was obvious the 29 car was done. This left the lead to Black but just a couple of laps later, like the other cars earlier, the Shrine Desert Road Course keyhole took the CBD Racing Chevrolet-Daboiler into the desert never to be heard from again. That left, like the previous race, March Madness, a mano-a-mano battle between Kamikawa and Rist, and while Rist's #98 was clearly faster in the closing stanza, Kamikawa would hold on for his second win of the season, the 45th of his career and surprisingly, his first win of the Shrine Cup. 

With the championship settled and the road course title decided for John Wiedemann, that leaves only the HO Indy 500 and the oval track championship to be decided at South Shore Superspeedway in just over a week to conclude the 31st IndySlotCar Series season.

Shrine Cup  fast facts

Race date: Thursday, Apr 4


Track: Shrine Desert Road Course, 4-mile road course in Wauwatosa, WI


Race distance:  20 minutes

Twitter:  @indyslotcar

IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com

2023 race winner: Bill Black (No. 7 CBD Racing Chevrolet-Daboiler)


2023 P1 Award winner: Dan Margetta (No. 48 Cheap Ganassi Racing Honda-Daboiler)

Single lap qualifying record: Mike Lack, 4.150 seconds; 2020


Race record: Mike Lack, 247 laps; 2020

YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel


At-track schedule (all times local):

6:00 – Gates open

6:30 – Driver introductions

7:00 – Chassis distribution/Drivers’ Meeting

7:05 – IndySlotCar Series Practice

7:30 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)

8:00 – Heat races

8:45 – Shrine Cup

Race Notes:

·         Joe Heitz is riding a two race winning streak, attempting to catch John Wiedemann for the Husarsbilt Cup championship, Weidemann hasn’t made it easy however, while Heitz has won the last two races, JW has been third and second, the points gap sits at 71, going into the final two events.

·         Wiedemann has already clinched the Andretti/Mansell Award for the road course championship.

·         Bill Black is the two-time defending winner of the Shrine Cup, matching some of the legends of the sport, Mike Lack went back-to-back in ’16 and ’18 (no race in ’17) and ’20 and ’21, Jim Iverson (2004-05) and Larry Rotter (2002-03).

·         STATS WATCH: John Wiedemann has appeared in 13 finals this season, this puts him one short of the season record held by Joe Heitz (’22-’23) and Mike Lack (’15-’16), the #29 pilot can break the record if he makes the final in the last two races; Wiedemann can also tie the most heat wins in a season if he wins heats in each of the last two races, two drivers have set the record at 12. Joe Heitz’s win at March Madness is the 14th of his career, moving to 14th on the all-time victories list. Wiedemann’s pole position at March Madness is his 26th Firestone P1 Award, pulling even with Hall of Famers Larry Rotter and Jim Keahny, all tied for sixth. James Spehert jumps to 43rd on the all-time laps list with 304 and moves to 36th on the starts list with 10.



THE SHRINE CUP HISTORY (18 events, 1993 – 1996; 2002 – 2005; 2013 – 2016, 2018 – present)

Date                   Race Winner                          Track                                                Event Name

8/26/1993        Pat Jarvis                          The Shrine Track                                      The Shrine Cup

9/8/1994          Phil Cianciola                   The Shrine Track                        The Shrine Cup presented by Hank's Beloit Speedway

9/7/1995           Dave Austin                     The Shrine Track                                      The Shrine Cup

9/5/1996           Jim Kaehny                       The Shrine Track                                      The Shrine Cup

4/4/2002           Larry Rotter                     Shrine Desert Road Course               Leinenkugel’s 400

3/30/2003        Larry Rotter                     Shrine Desert Road Course               Leinenkugel’s 200

4/8/2004           Jim Iverson                       Shrine Desert Road Course               Leinenkugel’s 200

3/31/2005        Jim Iverson                       Shrine Desert Road Course               Leinenkugel’s 200*

2/28/2013        Mark Walczak                 Shrine Desert Road Course                   The Shrine Cup

3/13/2014        Mike Lack                         Shrine Desert Road Course                   The Shrine Cup

3/5/2015           Matt Hayek                      Shrine Desert Road Course                   The Shrine Cup

3/17/2016        Mike Lack                         Shrine Desert Road Course         Miller Lite Shamrock Shrine Cup

3/15/2018        Mike Lack                         Shrine Desert Road Course                   The Shrine Cup

3/21/2019        Dean Strom                      Shrine Desert Road Course           Jack Daniel’s Shrine Cup       

5/28/2020        Mike Lack                         Shrine Desert Road Course                     The Shrine Cup

4/1/2021           Mike Lack                         Shrine Desert Road Course                         The Shrine Cup

3/30/2022        Bill Black                           Shrine Desert Road Course                         The Shrine Cup

3/30/2023        Bill Black                           Shrine Desert Road Course                         The Shrine Cup


Multiple winners: Mike Lack – 5; Bill Black, Jim Iverson, Larry Rotter – 2

*Last race held at Phil Cianciola’s house


Shrine Desert Road Course Track Map